Student Life

Back to Blog May 2, 2016

The Heads of State Distinguish Themselves

Author: Kylie Doyle
Example of a Star Trek Stamp by Heads of State

Alumni from Tyler continue to make their mark on the art world! Two graduates from the Tyler School of Art, Dusty and Jason, have formed their own organization called the Heads of State. Running your own organization isn’t easy, but these alums have advice for students and graduates looking to get their own careers in art to a great start.  

“Jason and I had known each other throughout our four years at Tyler, but the intensity of that second semester senior year really brought us together. Just bumping into each other in the labs at late late hours, we just saw a similar work ethic, passion and drive.”

Though the idea to start an business has likely crossed the minds of many artists, it takes a special kind of drive to pull it off the ground and into success.

“I think early on we realized that in order to create work that was going to push our own boundaries and to make work that was maybe new and different we would need to create our own way. We had great jobs at the time but being able to work on our own thing after hours really helped us grow as designers much more quickly than we would without that outlet.”

“The process is never static. It changes. Depending on the project. Depending on the client. Often depending on our mood. The constants in are always thinking, learning and sketching. Over the years, at least in our profession, we've found that the best asset is a knowledgeable, passionate client. If we can mine that as much as possible we have not only our view, outlook, spin to apply on the project but also the outlook and view of someone who has their life and dreams wrapped up in the same project. To be honest, the actual "artistic" part of the project often happens very quickly, and though we always want the project to look and be amazing, the root, the heart is always the thinking.”

Tyler works hard to ensure that every graduate is prepared for their careers after college. Dusty and Jason were no exceptions!

“Work ethic. Being immersed in the design program, and getting used to the late nights and the push to make everything better has given us a huge leg up. It's really a matter of standards. If we're working to hit this very high standard throughout school, then after we graduated to some extent we set our own bar even higher. That idea of standards and work ethic also keeps us in check. As a company grows it's very easy to lose those high standards, trade them off for cash flow, or clients that might have budgets but not the want for top notch work.”

The fluidity of art and the artistic process is a continuous theme in the Heads of State. Every art organization is different and showcases their strengths through each artist’s individual style and the presentation of their work. The unique nature of these organizations is what allows individuals to move forward with their ideas and make it a reality.

“Though we're steadily growing, our idea is to keep it small. That means we don't need to take on the giant pharmaceutical client but can instead to work for the guy down the street with a dream. It's very easy to let the work and cashflow start defining what the studio is. It's a much harder to task to define yourself, your work, the nature of the studio. It's important to keep that idea in the forefront.”

Dusty and Jason are proof of what a good work ethic combined with inspiration and a pervasive dream can create. Their advice to students in Tyler is timeless, stating that “Style, aesthetic, it all changes. It changes quick. The portfolio I had after graduation felt stale after two or three years but the fundamentals and work ethic will always push the portfolio, the skill forward.”

The Heads of State are another testament to the value of individuality and each artist’s contribution to the art world. Though life after Tyler may be intimidating, every student has something valuable to share with the community that surrounds them. No matter how many artists exist in the world, each one has something unique. This is what shapes culture, and what should inspire each student to carry forth their own dreams into their careers.

Link to the Heads of State website.